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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Blog catch-up 21st -26th

On the 21st as we were at ASDA near Swallow pond I walked along for an hour to look for any Dragons ,the views from both screens obscured by rush and reeds ,nothing on the large dipping pool and the small pool on the edge of the wood has been enlarged also as a dipping pool but nothing here either on to the large pool Hadrian Pool I think it is called a pair of Mute Swans with a brood of 7 large young , no small feat on an urban pond also a brood of Tufted giving me the chance to get fairly close.

Tufted Duck with one of her brood behind
Young Tufted Duck
Just missed a Kestrel as it dropped in near the pool seemed to pick something up.

On the 22nd we cycled along to St Mary's to catch the rising tide a couple of hundred Kittiwakes on the rocks also a few Common and Sandwich terns

Oystercatcher having been flushed from the island crowd on the rocks before again heading for the causeway roost.

24th I stopped at the Blyth estuary on the way north , Whinchat and Wheatear on the far side .
Woodhprn Flash only had 2 Common darter not seing many of these at all.
Cresswell had 5 Ruff 2 Greenshank, 4 Ringed Plover,30 Dunlin, and c60 which circled twice but did not land, I did not take a single picture all day !!!!.

25th Started the day at East Cramlington again looking for Dragonflies , it was sunny so waited an hour but nothing showed .
Arcot not my favourite destination but has been good for Dragons in the past so an other hour or so, 3 Greenshank, Small Coppers,lots of Wall Brown, Peacock, Red Ad,Emerald and Common Darter and one Hawker distant and I thought Southern.
Big Waters found a Southern Hawker hanging on nettle , Emeralds & Blue Tailed, again a few Small copper and Wall.
Gosforth Park apart from a couple of Willow Warblers along the boardwalk I saw little else here and wasted an hour doing it.
Swallow Pond being a sunnier day than my last visit I headed back to check the ponds, only to find there was a Teddy Bears picnic in progress and still nothing on the ponds....... no wonder I use so much petrol !!!!!
Peacock Arcot Pond
Arcot Pond
Arcot Pond
I found this freshwater mussel shell on the shore that is a golf ball to show the size of it ,I never thought they got that big ???
Some nice Fungi on the dead trees.

Sothern Hawker Big Waters
Comma Big Waters.

26th Found my first Migrant Hawkers of the year 2 along a hedge near Woodhorn.
Cresswell 5 Greenshank,4 Ruff, 1Whimbrel,2 Buzzard, 1 Pintail, Goldeneye a hawker was flying over the east side of the hide but I could not get a good view and it remained unidentified a few Swallows over heading South. I took the bike and headed up the coast.
Druridge another Migrant Hawker near the entrance,Wheatear and Whinchat at the end of the road.
Hauxley at the Ponteland hide only the usual Greylag and a few Redshank, plenty of waders from the Tern hide but looking into the sun by now, I cycled around to the new Wader hide so called from the days when waders could actually be seen from the hide as the water was much lower................ the hide is brand spanking new 30' x 10' it's huge what was wrong with the old one for the amount of people that actually go around this side , anyway perhaps they hire it out for functions etc: at 300 square feet of floor space you would get a few in ...... I wonder,what bird could turn up here that would fill this hide with birders , it would have to something special,more than the 2 Mallard I had !!!!.
Headed back to Cresswell for the car stopping at Snab Point, I noticed the large Bungalow is for sale. a few bushes in the garden and your own sea watch hide you would get some garden list !!!

Migrant Hawker
Whimbrel over Cresswell again not landing
Wall near the carpark

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Blyth Estuary/Cresswell/Shibdon Crake

17th August had a look at the Blyth estuary a Redshank every few yards along both shores , with Curlew spaced further apart all keeping to their patch,25 or 26 Heron sitting in the centre of a field showing the area does not much disturbance, beside the boat yard Ringed Plover on the mud Water Rail calling from the reeds but no sign of anything else, Kestrel and Magpie sat about 2' feet apart on the fence eyeing each other and a young Fox playing along the field edge.At least 25 Heron in this group
Looking across to the north west a footpath runs along the south but nothing on the other side

Most buuterflies looking a little worse for wear probably from a bird strike.

The 18th headed up the coast stopping at Woodhorn flash ,but only a couple of Common Darter around, also looked at QE11 pond for gulls especially looking for juvenile Common as you can get close here (with the right bread)but only a few Black headed around carried on to Linton pond not been much since the tip closed ,really miss my Gull watching sessions.
Snab point the next stop for a bit of Cetacean watching ,well thats the theory after an hour later still nothing so on to Cresswell.
The water level still high so no sandbar ,5 Greenshank Common Sandpiper & and a Ruff along the west shore, also 2 Goldeneye and a Pintail with a Buzzard high up. Stopped at the point for another 45mins but still nothing.
The 19th I headed over to Shibdon to see the Sptted Crake not seen one for awhile , it was a suuny day so I stopped at Big Waters to look for Dragonflies ,found a Southern Hawker hanging up so took my fill of shots , but only the one ,also Azure, Blue Tailed and a few Common Darter, Small Copper 3 , and a Wall Brown.
Shibdon ,went to the hide after having a scan from the edge, the Crake showed after about 10 mins coming into the open but someway off, you definitely needed a scope took some digi shots ,but the bird was not out the same time as the sun ,which makes a huge difference to digiscoping
One Greenshank (expected more waders) 5 Little Egrets, 2 Water Rail, Common Terns

Fungi always catch my eye ,so I have to take a couple of photos, not the usual look underneath !

Could only get three together.
The Egrets favouring this huge Willow as does the Cormorants
In company with a Juvenile Water Rail
Looking over from the hide , the bird being in the far corner !!! , the water level has been dropped.
It spent some time in the open , but the distance is really to far and the light not good

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Dolphins, Meds,Dragons and last of the Swift

Just some images from the past few days a bit of a mix, still trying to find Dragonflies but with not much luck, Big Waters had 2 Southern Hawker briefly, but the sun does not shine for long enough ,I fear most have died off already.
A spell Seawatching but more in the hope of Cetaceans from Snab Point on the 11th the sea fairly flat, and I picked out about six one mother with calf, Bottle Nosed Dolphins they moved around the bay for about an hour till they eventually moved off South at this point two or three breaching but turning sideways through the air it was good to watch. A pleasure boat which I later found out was The Balmoral fully laden with lots of people headed north ,probably an ideal boat to watch Dolphins from as it had a bit of height and looked stable.
Checked out the Med Gulls at Newbiggin and found 5 Juveniles and a total of 19 birds , looked in at Woodhorn Flash later that day 7 Med Gulls bathing in the fresh water, a partial albino Moorhen, but only a couple of Common Darters & 3 Wall Brown.
The last rather poor photo shows a Swift still present at the nest site on the morning of the 16th,just taken from the TV.
Bog Waters had large amounts of these Fungi
The same species but looking more interesting as it pushes its way through the moss and ground litter.
Lots of these small Hoverflies inhabit the flowers in the garden
3 Med Juveniles with a fourth to the right and a five on the beach ( with an injured leg)
A Mc had a total of I think 23 with 6 Juveniles in an early morning roost.
The Balmoral heading North to ?
This again I presume is a Leach
This Fungi had a leave like structure
Partial albino Moorhen at Woodhorn Flash
Silvery Y hiding in plain sight
Common Darter
Common Darter this one drawing heat from an old carpet that someone has dumped
Swift facing left, site entrance in the background and ceiling joist in the foreground.

Monday, 16 August 2010

More Sewatching..........14-8-10

Another session at St Mary's on Saturday morning produced
Arctic Skua...............7
Grey Plover .................2

Returned later in the afternoon but the sea had dropped considerably over 2 hundred Kittiwakes sitting on the sea & rocks Roseate Tern & my first Juvenile of the year also a colour ringed juvenile Sandwich tern as far as I can find out it was ringed at "Griend" Dutch Wadden Sea with no further or contact details, sea passage was by now sparse and I left by 18:15.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Seawatch 12/13th August

Newbiggin 12th

Spent a couple of hours at the point , not a great deal to show for the 10 observers all with eyes fixed on the sea.
20 Manx
3 Sooty (first of the year)
2 Roseates (per TC)
1 Scoter
2 Grey Plover
numerous Mediterranean Gulls ( first time I have spelt it right from memory ) vying for attention as they past overhead and just over the point.
+ loads of gossip that you would not believe !!!!!!!

St Mary's 13th 08:00-10:00
Not really fancying sitting on the point in the P******* rain , and now probably part of some gossip myself, I opted to sit in the car at St Mary's, radio on flask of coffee, conveniently parked by the toilets allowing some shelter from the wall.

Gannets 180 -- 1/2 hour
Arctic Skua ..........4
Manx .......................14
Grey Plover.............1
Teal ......................25
Again not a lot but the Sooty Shearwaters where worth the effort alone heading back for more..........
Another couple of hours at St Mary's ,just got there and AC pointed out a Juvenile Black Tern, sitting on the rocks near an Adult Roseate.
again not much for a couple of hours but the Bonxies gave very good views.
Juv Peregrine over the wetland

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A Walk along the Wall 4-8-10

Last Wednesday the 4th I went along to the popular section of the Roman Wall between Housesteads and Steel Rigg. it was my intention to walk over to Bellcragflow , there was sunny periods early morning but by the time I got to Steel Rigg it was overcast , distances don't look to bad on a flat map but you forget just how hard it is to walk here , so I ended up walking part of the Pennine Way then heading back over to Steel Rigg via the level route , I only saw 2 Wheatears , and a Curlew it looked rather bleak for August, oddly I was there last year in late July and it was even bleaker with a howling wind from the West it was the night I paid £8 to camp and had to sleep in the car anyway.
Heading back home it really brightened up so I called in to Arcot Pond,thankfully not a sole around, 10 Heron and a few Mallard being the main birds around but I was looking for Dragonflies ,but all I found 2 teneral Common Darter, a usually very abundant species but not this year, still a few Blue Tailed Damsels, no sign of any Emperors etc: not having much luck this year with Dragonflies at all .
Greenlea Lough
Ideal Wheatear country but I only saw 2
Roman Wall snakes along the top and the level route takes you right over the fields ,actually it;s much easier doing it the other way around , so why didn't I !!!!!!!!
Looking South Crag Lough just coming in on the right
The famous Sycamore gap, with the ever present hiker on the skyline
Fresh looking Meadow Brown on Knapweed
Common Dater
Sneezewort with a head of Knapweed adding a bit of colour